Tag Archives: statue

Softly, softly, catchee monkey

monkey

Back off holiday and another blog post for August. It seems odd having only blogged once before this month after blogging every day for 7 months but I do feel that a weight of expectation has been lifted. As usual Northumberland did not disappoint and I am somewhat daunted by the sheer number of photographs that I took. Of course some of them are family shots and will therefore never see the light of day on this blog but there are still several hundred others to prioritise and get through. Processing all the wedding photographs recently has finally opened up my eyes to the blindingly obvious fact that my old PC is not really up to task in terms of speed or capability. It has become a chore and I spend a lot of time just sitting, with the fan whirring, waiting for it to do something.

For many years I have harboured a dream of upgrading to an Apple Mac, primarily because I don’t know a single pro photographer that is not Mac-based. So I have now made the decision that any income made from photography – meagre as it is – is going to go into a savings fund to trade in the PC for a Mac at some point in the future. This may well take more than a year given my current incomings.

I am more than pleased with Society6 in terms of generating income as it is the first outlet for my photography that has actually worked, and lord knows there have been many failed attempts. I’ve never had a photography sale via this blog or the website I set up for example. The sums involved from selling via Society6 are small but growing and I can see a steady increase in interest. In addition, it’s nice to be seen as an artist by a community of other artists who have no idea who I am.

Also, I have had three more enquiries about photographing weddings; this I am noticeably less excited about, primarily because I find them very stressful and as word of mouth takes them away from friends and friends of friends to complete strangers then my stress levels can only increase further. Nonetheless, it is heartening to be getting word-of-mouth recommendations even if it is only as a cheap and cheerful option. Whether I will do them or not is an entirely different matter.

And what other news? I will continue to add images to my Society6 store and this may well become my primary focus over the blog (to be honest it already has) as operation Mac continues into 2012. I know have three images for sale via the Urban Outfitters print shop (again via a deal they have with Society6) and it is obvious from my stats that it is these images that are selling the most, though the commission is lower. So I suppose my strategy should be to try and get more picked up by Urban Outfitters. The three images they have picked up so far are not my best – in my opinion anyhow, which may be worthless – and are undoubtedly all images where I have consciously attempted to do something quirky or ‘arty’. Again, maybe there is a lesson to be learned here? And this opens up a wider question. Why is it that the photographs of mine that are rated the highest by other artists hardly sell at all? It’s an interesting conundrum and I only wish I knew the answer.

I had a very good meeting with a PR-oriented friend of mine who insisted that I do something or anything to promote the photography and I now have a list of actions, some of which I might actually do something about if things didn’t keep getting in the way such as holidays, first Northumberland and Edinburgh to come. That said, in Edinburgh I am taking some photographs of friends for their company’s website so will be combining business and pleasure (and ticking something off the action plan).

I never really envisaged selling ANY of my photographs when I started this whole adventure and I certainly never envisaged being seen as an artist, as previous blog posts will attest. I am not the most proactive of people – you may have noticed – but it seems to me that if you keep making small steps towards an achievable goal then that is better than making no steps at all. It has been a very slow build since my first blog post in May 2009 but I have come pretty far and learned loads – certainly I have achieved more than I thought I would. I catch myself getting impatient sometimes about the slow pace I am setting but then I think of the day job and the family commitments and overall I’m pretty pleased with my progress. I have also had a lot of support along the way from family and friends, social networkers and other photographers/artists too. So thanks all!

Sometimes I feel a bit like the Wizard of Oz and that any minute the curtain may be whipped away to reveal an old man pulling levers. I am still not completely convinced that I have ‘an eye for it’ and my ability with the camera fluctuates wildly; however, I am improving in terms of my digital darkroom skills and this appears to be half the battle. Sorry that this post is a bit disjointed; I’m not really sure what I am trying to say other than to reassure myself that the blog is still valid and worth updating. I still consider myself an amateur, albeit one that has managed to achieve a modicum of recognition as a tiny fish in a very very big pool of photographers that is growing all the time.

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Ancient and modern

Boudica

Tenuous link or what? Certainly in terms of the picture accompanying this blog. The ‘ancient and modern’ that I am referring to is your humble blogger as this is exactly how I feel this evening. Ancient, because that’s how I feel and modern because I am blogging about it. As a certain Prince of Denmark so eloquently put it ‘I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth’. I think I can put it down to several things. First, it’s Sunday and it’s back to work tomorrow. Even though it’s still the weekend I find the dread of returning to work starts to creep on me around lunchtime on a Sunday. Second, I have been on my own with the kids for three days; this has drained my stocks of tolerance to near critical levels and left me with an increased admiration for my better half – I am not an absent father by any means but as I work 9 to 5 and my wife doesn’t she inevitably spends more time with the children than I do. Third, the experience of having my portrait taken on Saturday has left me with an acute sense of how little I know photography wise and that I really am just playing at it. Finally, I have not been able to run for 4 days and this has left me depressed and worried about all the good work I have done this year. It can be no coincidence that no running plus a weekend of booze and stress and takeaway has left me facing Monday in a slough of despond.

To be honest I think I have bitten off more than I can chew and that it’s only a matter of time before something gives. And, let’s face it, the blog may be the first place to start. After all, if I’m not taking any pictures then I going to hit a brick wall at some point. I can’t work, run, blog, take photographs, fulfil family commitments, etc, etc without seeing some detriment to some/all of these components. I knew blogging every day was going to be difficult  but when I started I had no compunction to get physically and mentally fit at the same time. Also, blogging every day means that interest from readers wanes. This I have noticed. Or maybe the standard of the increasingly hurried words/pictures has started to drop. I have also taken on a couple of other commitments that I am struggling to stick too. And this can’t be good. So, what to do? I’m going to stick with it and see how it goes but if I miss a post I am not going to get stressed up about. I do need to start taking pictures again though. Of anything.

I have taken some pictures recently – some kid portraits for an old friend – and I think they are going to work out OK once I get round to processing them but I can’t use them for the blog. In other news my canal picture is in Cheshire Life but looks pretty rubbish – colours are far too dark in the print version. Also, it looks as if some photographs I did for a furniture shop are going to feature in a lifestyle magazine. So… it’s not all bad news but I need to give myself some breathing space.

Yesterday’s picture prompted a comment about how I should be focussing on doing some more flower photographs and that maybe this is where my talent lies. Unfortunately my macro lens has broken so I need to look into an alternative, either saving for a new expensive lens or investing in some cheaper extension tubes.

Sorry this is so downbeat; I’m sure you are used to it by now. I’ll probably be up again tomorrow but at the moment, despite all the positive encouragement, I am thinking about jacking it in and admitting defeat as life is too short and too precious to harbour pipe dreams. John Lennon summed it up perfectly when he said that ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’. Of late I have been making too many other plans. I need to concentrate on life before I get too ancient and less modern.

The picture by the way is the statue of Boudicca that is on Westminster Bridge in London, opposite the Houses of Parliament . It’s quite an old picture but again I have revisited it and had a play around to try and make it work. The warrior queen and the aeroplane. Juxtaposition. Ancient and modern.

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Night and the city

Statue b&w

There have not been that many photographic opportunities this week that did not involve fog (you may have noticed). It seemed to hang around for days, barely lifting. As already said fog lends itself beautifully to non-colour photography be it standard black and white, sepia, infra red so I make no apologies for another black and white photograph. When the sun returns hopefully I’ll have more colour to play with… This picture was taken near the race course in Chester from the centre of a roundabout. It’s a long exposure of about 8 seconds, hence the ghost car in the bottom right. I liked the way the fog shrouded the street lighting and the statue on horseback.

Can’t believe that we are already on 23rd January and that this is my 23rd blog post of the year. Blogging something every day has been really hard with some days harder than others, especially weekends when all you want to do is relax. As an experiment though its going pretty well and traffic to the blog has increased 2-3-fold so I must be doing something right at least. It seems that when I have something to write, the words come easier than the photography and other times (like today) I try and use the photograph to make up for my lack of words.

This weekend has been all about the birthday sleepover and I will admit to being totally and utterly exhausted. Sleep finally descended at around 12.30am this morning and they were all up again at 5. Needless to say, my son is now safely tucked up in bed with barely a whimper of protest. So, the sawn of another week and some big decisions to make; chief amongst these is whether to put myself forward as a school governor. It’s something that I would really like to do but don’t want to if I can’t give it the time and energy it deserves… I’ll let you know what I decide and if I am able to come up with the 100 words needed to highlight my suitability. In other news my wife is pondering jumping into the abyss of social networking; perhaps she has read my previous blog post from Friday, the result of which has been another interesting offer to help with ideas mapping a book! It’s all go.

But its Sunday night, work in the morning and a bottle of Rioja open so goodbye for now. I’d just like to say a big thank you to each and everyone of you  that has read, commented, subscribed to or liked the blog of late. It’s really appreciated. Cheers

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